Product Review: Mabot Starter Kit by Bell Robotics #STEM #STEAM #Robot

Mabot by BellRobot is a modular robot designed to teach coding and uses artificial intelligence. For purposes of the review I tested the Mabot in the starter configuration. Inside the box were a control ball, two drive balls, a battery ball which uses a lithium polymer battery, a color sensing ball and a six port connection ball. It also contained various connectors including a Lego Adapter, USB cable for charging, a disassembly tool, and quick start guide. There is a QR code to scan to install a companion app.

My kids love all things robots – after all we are a tech family and get to test out some fun products.

What we love…

Mabot modular robot was easy to put together and make various creations using plug and play. Used #STEM and #STEAM while encouraging creativity. I also liked the compatibility with Lego Techno.

What we’d love to see…

more straightforward instructions that were easier to find, a way to label each of the various balls with what they do either via colored dots or another method.

Summary

Overall, this is a fun modular robot designed for kids and adults which encourages creativity, #STEM learning and exploration.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

As a mom, I liked the fact that the Mabot robot was modular and easy to build. Mabot is recommended for kids six and up – my ten year old enjoyed building one of three suggested Mabot robots using the companion app. We did take a Sharpie marker and labeled each using the first letter of what it did. That made it easier for us to assemble the configuration and test it for review purposes. We put together the Mabot starter robot (which drove!) and then started experimenting with other configurations.

One of the great things was that my son was experimenting with putting different pieces in different ways to see what would happen – the ultimate STEM exploration. Mabot also includes a tool to take apart the modules – we used it both to separate the modules as well as remove the connectors – I suppose we could have pulled apart the modules but wanted to be careful of the pin configuration used within the connectors. Using the two companion apps, Mabot Go and Mabot IDE we were able to experiment with additional coding.

As a mom, I love all toys that encourage my kids’ curiosity. Bonus points if it teaches them something. It was simple to use once I figured out each module and what they did. When we played with it, we used it at the kitchen table so that the pieces didn’t get put somewhere else. Once we identified each of the pieces, building with the companion app was fun and easy. After building the Mabot starter robot we then started experimenting – and loved the various colors that lit up and things that we could see when we used the Bluetooth ball and tried the various levers to program and make it move. It also allows for hot plug and play which allowed us to start, stop, plug and unplug while experimenting without having to power off the Mabot.

In addition, it would be great to have a set of instructions labeling each of the modules included either inside the box or right inside the app. Amazon has an encyclopedia in the user guide listing, although I searched I was unable to find it on Bellrobot’s website. When I used the app, it got stuck because it couldn’t connect to the Bluetooth module – because I put the robot together wrong. Once I figured out my mistake, pulled off the connector pieces and put it together again it worked. This was a bit frustrating for my son, but once we figured it out we made many different robots.

Overall, the Mabot and companion apps are great educational tools that will encourage kids to learn, experiment, be creative and test new concepts. I loved that screentime was not just screentime but because educational learning time.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

MYNT® ES by Slightech – Review



MYNT ES by Slightech is a great solution if you are always losing your keys!  I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten home and not put my keys and wallet in their designated spot – this usually results in a frantic morning when we are looking for my keys and trying to get my kids out the door quickly.  Luckily, MYNT ES has a Bluetooth app and I can attach it to my keys so it will play a sound much like the “find my iPhone” so that searching is no more.

What we love…

easy to use solution to help you find everything quickly and easily using your tech

What we’d love to see…

way to prevent battery drain on your devices

Summary

MYNT ES is a great tech solution for an everyday problem. I really liked being able to find my keys quickly with just a tap of the MYNT app.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

We recently tried MYNT ES when we were travelling just to make sure it kept track of our belongings.  I had one MYNT ES attached to my keys which I carried on the plane with us and slipped the other MYNT ES into my checked bag.  It was interesting to see my bag as it traveled through the airport on the way to be loaded onto our plane.   I can see this being super helpful if someone travels frequently and is afraid of losing their bag. I also slipped one into my son’s swim bag because he seems to leave it behind frequently – this way I could find it quickly and easily without having to search since I was able to get an approximate location. Batteries inside the MYNT ES last about a year according to the manufacturer and are easily replaceable. You can use up to 8 MYNT devices at a time with the app. I also appreciated that MYNT ES was able to be used in the rain without having to worry that it would get wet like if it was raining when I was outside. In addition you can set a MYNT safe zone like at work or home so that your device is not constantly being tracked.

When you need help locating your belongings, you can simply open the app – tap it and it will send a loud sound signal to your device. The app is user friendly and quick to set up for your first time. From the time I opened the box to using MYNT was less than 10 minutes — and that included setting up two devices.

IF you lose a MYNT ES device, the information will be shared with the MYNT community and if your device is located by another MYNT user information is shared with you so you can locate it. A MYNT will last one to two months, and will decrease after that time.

In terms of enhancements, I did find that using MYNT ES decreased my battery life on my cell phone — this could be coincidental as I have an older device, but if I was using it frequently I found significant drain.  Usually I would launch it once a day when I got home and then I could easily locate my keys on the off chance I didn’t hang them up where they were supposed to be.

Tech Specs
Recommended devices
Apple: iPhone 8/8 Plus iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6s/6s Plus, iPhone 6/6Plus, iPhone 5s/5c/5, iPhone 4s, iPad Touch 6, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad mini 4/3/2/1 and above

Samsung: Galaxy, S8, S7 (Edge), Galaxy S6/S5/S4/S3,Galaxy Grand2, Galaxy Note5/4/3/2

Google: Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 4, Pixel and newer devices

Item Weight 0.32 ounces
Product Dimensions 1.1 x 2 x 0.2 inches
Item model number MYNTES
Batteries 1 CR2 batteries required. (included)

As a mom, I appreciated this MYNT ES help to find my keys and make for much less stressful mornings. I also put one on my wallet and tested them out in a variety of different locations to ensure they worked. It was great to see where my items were and not feel frantic as I looked for my keys or wallet. I also appreciated that it was easy to keep track of my items and ensured that we misplaced them much less frequently. Available for $20 USD from Amazon. Available in black and white to coordinate with your items.

MYNT - Smart Tracker & Finder
MYNT - Smart Tracker & Finder
by Slightech, Inc.

Category: Lifestyle, Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 144.43 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.



Orbi Home Wi-Fi System RBK50 by Netgear – Review



Having internet dead spots is one of the most frustrating things!  I recently was given the chance to test a Netgear Orbi and it’s safe to say my frustrations are much less!  Previously I have tried a number of routers and ultimately needed to use boosters in the house to get the signal strength throughout the house.

What we love…

Orbi is easy to set up router that provides wi-fi in my whole house without having signal boosters or dead spots

What we’d love to see…

Reminders from the app from Netgear to update firmware or simply reboot the router every so often

Summary

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

netgear-ambassaodorDisclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

iMum Mary had similar experiences when she reviewed Orbi last year.  Read her review here.

Out of the box, Orbi was easy to set up.  I installed the companion app on my iPhone and within 10 minutes, I had both the main unit and satellite set up – firmware updated and running!  The best part – I no longer need to remember two network names – my devices will seamlessly swap between the 2.5G to the 5G network without me having to change anything!

Orbi is an all in one unit – there are no antenas that are external.  You place one unit close to your home modem and use an ethernet cord to plug the modem and the base unit together.  Then, you can place the satellite unit in the house where  most of your electronics are – for me that’s on the first floor near our living room.  We have a TV/DVD player that we use to stream, a home laptop as well as various bluetooth speakers and a charging dock for our devices.  Orbi is cool to the touch, so I didn’t worry about my four year old touching it in error and hurting his hand.

One of my favorite things about Orbi is the ability to configure as little or as much as you wish!  I have an Orbi app on my phone and can use my Amazon Alexa to enable or disable the guest internet with a simple spoken voice command.  I also loved the integration with Circle parental controls – as a mom I’m always watching how much screentime my kids get – with Orbi I have a second person on my shoulder helping to monitor and make sure that they are not accessing sites that I don’t want them to.  Once I got Orbi, and upgraded my cable modem to a CM 1000 I was finally getting the speeds I was paying for with my home internet!  One of the other things I liked was the ability to share WiFi with a QR code or even via a text message to other Apple devices.

 

Inside Orbi

6 dedicated WiFi antennas supporting Tri-band WiFi with dedicated 4×4 Tx/Rx backhaul.

2 antennas for Dual-band front haul connections to WiFi devices (2.4GHz + 5GHz Low-band).

 

To start using Orbi, you plug it into your cable modem using the included Ethernet cable.  Plug in Orbi and turn it on.  Orbi will turn solid white and then pulse white when it is ready for you to set up with your home internet.  The goal is with the base and satellite, that you get a blue ring.  Blue= good connection, amber= fair connection, magenta= unable to connect.   When I first set up the Orbi in one part of the house I got an Amber, so I simply moved it around a bit until I got a better connection.  My favorite part?!?  I finally got a connection in both parts of my downstairs as well as on my side deck so we could stream to our heart’s content.  If you still struggle to get a good connection, Orbi has other units you can purchase to help boost the signal throughout the house as well.  When setting up you can either plug into the included ethernet ports or use WPS setup to allow your devices to find Orbi.  You can see a device list of connected devices and turn on/off the internet with a tap.  WIth our previous router and old modem, I was lucky if I got half the speed I was paying for.  Now I can stream on multiple devices, use the internet and even play music without worrying about my connection.  I pay for Blast services with Comcast and got 296 down and 12 up once I installed Orbi.  This was not location dependent within the house either.

In terms of improvements, I wish the Orbi app would send you a reminder when you need to update firmware or do some other type of maintenance to the network.   Other than that – really there is nothing I would change.

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet. Available from Amazon and other fine retailers.



NETGEAR Orbi NETGEAR Orbi by NETGEAR

Price: $FREE

The Orbi App from NETGEAR makes it easy to set up and get more from your Orbi WiFi system.

You can quickly install your WiFi in just a few steps. A dashboard provides easy access to additional.

 


Circle: Smart Family Controls Circle: Smart Family Controls by Circle Media Incorporated

Price: $FREE

Circle is the smart way for families to manage content and time online, on any device.

Circle works with your home Wi-Fi and manages every device on your network, both wireless and wired, without.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly. The iMums are  NETGEAR Ambassadors.

 

Tech Specs

Tech specs

Combined WiFi speed 3,000 Mbps (1733 + 866 + 400Mbps)
Coverage 5,000 sq ft
Dedicated Backhaul 4×4 (1.7Gbps)
WiFi Technology Tri-band

Cubelets by Modular Robotics – Review



Cubelets by Modular Robotics

Cubelets are robot blocks which allow children and adults to build robots and learn. You first combine three types of Cublets to make a robot – by switching the different types of Cubelets you use, you can make a different robot just by changing one block. Every robot requires the use of a gray Cublet which is the battery Cublet who powers the fun! For this review I tested the Cubelets TWELVE which includes 12 robot blocks and two Brick Adapters which allow you to connect Lego’s to your creation. Inside the box are Cubelets – each one has a different job to do, they snap together with magnets to help them do each of their specific tasks. There are two drive modules, a rotate, a flashlight, two distance,

  • Drive: Contains a motor and roller wheels for moving on a horizontal surface.
  • Rotate: One face spins at a rate corresponding to the block’s input values.
  • Flashlight: The Flashlight Cubelet emits a focused beam of light from a powerful white LED. This can be used to “shine the way” for your robot to move or simply for fun!
  • Distance: Detects how far it is from an object. It uses infrared light and is accurate between 10 and 80 cm.
  • Brightness: Brightness Cubelet has an analog photocell that responds to varying light conditions
  • Inverse: Inverse Cubelet will (weighted) average its inputs and then output a value of one minus that average.

 

What we love…

Cubelets are an easy to use fun robotics for kids of all ages, there are so many different things each block robot does. Kids were so engaged they didn’t realize they were learning.

What we’d love to see…

the ability to have an extra power included in the 12 block set allowing for multiple users

Summary

Cubelets by Modular Robotics were a huge hit both with my kids and anyone else I tried them with. It’s a great way to teach STEM and encourage kids to practice cause and effect, learn programming and have fun without realizing they are learning.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

My kids and I loved playing with Cubelets by Modular Robotics. It was amazing to see all the different combinations that we could create and quickly! We even used Cubelets at a recent Cub Scout meeting as part of the robotics requirement – it was quick and easy and the Cub Scouts could easily see the cause and effect when they added or removed blocks. We also experimented with different surfaces, using Bluetooth and Blocky with our Cubelets as well as using light detection. When I have used Cubelets with my kids and with the Cub Scouts I was amazed at how engaged they were and ready to learn. At the end of the meeting, my Cub Scouts were asking to spend more time with the robots – and as a results we decided to work on a special project that involved them. I also loved that the kids were able to take what they learned, do some research at home and then share more about the robots that they learned about. We talked about the manufacturing process and how each block was actually a small robot each with a discrete task. They are easily portable in a small box – and I know I will be keeping them in my Scout bag just in case we have extra time at the end of a meeting. I also loved there were no “wrong” ways for Cubelets to be built – this way we could mix, match and experiment to see what each robot cube did. You can even build a lego creation and using Cubelets Brick adapters bring it to life.

The only thing I wished was that the Cubelets package I was using had a second power because we split into groups at our meeting – and so we had to pass the power back and forth to power our robots.

Overall, Cubelets by Modular Robotics were a huge hit both with my kids and anyone else I tried them with. It’s a great way to teach STEM and encourage kids to practice cause and effect, learn programming and have fun without realizing they are learning.

Cublets are available from many retailers including Amazon. Prices range from $129.95 to $499.95 depending on configuration chosen.

For more great tech toys check out our Holiday Gift Guide 2017 or our #STEM toy guide.

Cubelets
Cubelets
by Modular Robotics

Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 7.25 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)


Cubelets Blockly
Cubelets Blockly
by Modular Robotics

Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 64.4 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)


NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.